This week we begin, the New Testament, the next chapter or series in our journey through The Story(Bible), the season of Lent. Before I begin here are some thoughts to guide us not just this week but over the next 5 weeks as we begin our Lenten series entitled “Understanding Jesus”.
Lent is often described as a journey, a time of self searching. But Lent can also be thought of in terms of truth.
In Lent, the masks we put on to protect us from God’s penetrating stare are stripped away. In Lent, our lives are grasped by the power of God’s truth, which first strips us bare of our self-justifying lies and second assures us that God truly loves us in spite of our failings. Join us during this season of Lent as we seek to reveal God’s truth by:
un-Masking who Christ is – so we can more fully know Christ.
un-Masking of Ourselves, so we can be fully present in community
un-Masking of Others, so we can remove the expectations we place on others and allow them to be who they are, loved by God and by us.
We begin this week with the Birth of a King, king Jesus. A couple thoughts to ponder as you read chapter 22 of The Story. This birth story which is so ingrained into our lives, a babe lying in a manger, the crowded inn, a carpenter and his young wife, Mary. Is very familiar to us for it is the Christmas story and for at least a month every year we remember through songs and words this familiar story, perhaps it has become too familiar.
Our text this week comes to us from John 1, and it to should be familiar to us, “in the beginning” for this is how this book that we love, the Bible begins, “in the beginning”. A reminder that w are not to get to comfortable with this image of a new born child, this royal birth. When things in our lives become familiar and comfortable we settle into believing we already have all the understanding we need, we know the answer. When we do this we tend to miss God in our midst.
A couple thoughts to ponder. “In the beginning” reminds us that Jesus was there with Abraham, with Moses at the burning bush, wrestling with Jacob at the river, with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fire, and with you and I today.
Second, there was no room in the inn(s) in Bethlehem for this common little babe to be born. Is there room in your life? As I look at how crowded my calendar is ……… I wonder if Joseph came knocking what would I say?
Lastly, this was the child of a carpenter a common man, a reminder that Christ comes to us in the common every day reality of life. Perhaps is a worldly king came calling we would clear our calendar, perhaps. But Jesus reminded his disciples that they saw him when they touched the lives of those in need around them, the hunger, the naked, the cold.